Man refuses to roll down window for cops, then things escalate quickly
The manner in which the police handle their suspects is an incredibly hot topic in the US, and it shows no sign of slowing down. Typically, it involves the alleged racial profiling of people from minority groups, but in some instances, it can involve police exerting undue force for seemingly no reason at all.
Not only has it become the most common form of police misconduct, but we have reached a point that many people feel the need to record their encounters with the police, for fear of being wrongly mistreated. Think of that; the people civilians fear most are those who are supposed to be protecting them.
What's more, incidents captured on camera only draw further attention to an ongoing issue that's often swept under the carpet - with only one officer being convicted of a crime for every 1,000 people who lose their lives at the hands of a police officer.
Now, a video has surfaced online which shows two New Mexico state officers breaking the window of a car after the man inside refused to open it. They then drag the driver out of the window in a scene many would describe as "excessive".
Check out the footage below and see who you think is in the wrong:
The driver, identified as 41-year-old Phillip Page, and his female passenger, 29-year-old Angela Fisher-Herrera, had been stopped by the officers after they believed that they weren't wearing seatbelts.
The shocking 45-second clip begins with Page informing the police offers that he is recording what they are doing after, as one of them taps on his car with a baton. In response to this, the officer closest to his car tells him that they are also recording and asks him to open his car window while placing his hands on it.
"They pulled us over for not wearing a seatbelt," Fisher-Herrer says to the camera. "We are wearing a seatbelt and they're threatening to break our window."
"You haven't even asked me for my license or registration?" Page questioned as the officer pulled back his car window. He repeats this question as the officers reach into the car and grab him by the arm. "I was seatbelted," Page added as he is dragged from his car by two police officers.
Despite seemingly doing nothing wrong, the man is then pushed to the ground by the officers. Another officer then approaches the car and asks the Fisher-Herrer to get out too and it's at this point that the video ends.
In an interview with the Journal last week, Page said that he and Fisher-Herrera were "polite" to the officer: "At that point, we were very concerned — he's not acting like a cop," Page said. "He could've been calmer."
According to the Albuquerque Journal, the officers had dragged the 41-year-old out of the car because he refused to cooperate by opening the window. The pair were arrested after the incident on charges of not wearing their seatbelts, resisting or obstructing a police officer, concealing identity, and making a false 911 call.
Naturally, people on social media had a lot to say about the incident.
Twitter user @johnroyall3 was very much on the side of Page, writing, "What law allows a New Mexico state policeman to break the window of Philip Page because he hadn't opened it? He wasn't asked for his [driver's license] for review. He and his passenger had their safety belts on. What's with this tyrannical display of force?"
Whereas others, like @doTERRASher, argued that the police were in the right: "I'm baffled whn ppl don't comply w police, then try to turn it around & mk cops look bad. Philip Page & Angela Fisher-Herrera refused to comply for 1/2 hr. Clearly they're lking for their 15 secs of viral game. There's no common sense w the entitled generation. [sic]"
Although the incident, which took place in New Mexico, appears to be yet another example of police being very heavy-handed, New Mexico State Police Chief Pete Kassetas said that it would not have happened had Page complied fully complied with the officers.
"I'm standing by my officers," he said. "At some point after a certain amount of time of noncompliance, something has to happen."
"We didn't break the window and drag him out of the car because he didn't have a seat belt on," he said. "He got removed from the vehicle forcefully because he didn't comply."
Either way, this is just yet another inflammatory incident caught on camera.